Sterilize soil after the fact?

hatrabbitNovember 29, 2011

I started a couple of indoor vegetable plants and did what I now know was a mistake: for soild I just threw in some garden soil, not potting soil. Now the plants are doing OK but I can see bugs living in the dirt. So far I've seen a couple of different looking things... is there a way I can get rid of these pests in the soil without changing the soil in the pots?

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Those bugs aren't necessarily a problem. Lots of insects live in healthy soil with a lot of organic matter. Vegetables will do better in garden soil, rather than potting soil anyway. I suggest you find out what they are before killing them. They could be beneficial.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 8:25AM
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dellis326 (Danny)

I agree, They may not be a problem other then you just may not want them in your home.

Another consideration is whether you plan to keep them growing indoors indefinitely or if you're planing to set them out in the garden next spring. It may be best to water them a few times with a neem oil solution with a couple of drops of dish soap mixed in and leave things as is.

If you plan on growing them under lights without transferring them outside you may want to consider growing them in a soil-less mix.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 10:13AM
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rhizo_1 (North AL) zone 7

Your primary problem will be the fact that you used garden soil for your containers, not the things crawling around in that soil. Garden soil, even GREAT soil, doesn't behave very well when 'incarcerated'. Once garden soil is removed from the vast working system in which it has a role, it turns into air-less, functionless stuff.

Container veggies require the same of their potting medium as any plant: rapid drainage, great porosity, etc.

As to the critters you've also put into captivity...who know what they might be? Most people go to great lengths to rid their containerized plants of such livestock before bringing them inside for the winter just because who wants to start a colony of 6 or 8 or a jillion-legged beasties in the front parlor? (sheesh, the 2 and 4 legged ones are bad enough sometimes)

I'd be sorely tempted to invest in a decent potting medium and repot my plants, if I were in your shoes. What kind are they, by the way? The veggies, not the critters.

If you can possibly get some pictures of the culprits, I can probably identify them for you. At least you'd know if they belong in the 'pest' category or the 'nuisance' category or the 'who cares' category.

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 1:45PM
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It's not too late to unpot, and bake your garden soil, or if you plan on using dirt again in the future.

Bake in an oven, 350 for 45 minutes.

But, let me warn stinks. lol.

Baking will rid pests and disease.

After it cools, repot as usual. Toni

    Bookmark   November 29, 2011 at 4:07PM
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